Vancouver Canucks v Phoenix Coyotes

Columnist: Trading Kesler isn’t out of the question for Canucks


Earlier today we commented on a columnist’s idea to trade Patrick Kane. We now present a columnist’s musings on Ryan Kesler and the possibility the Canucks could trade one of their stars.

The Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre isn’t outright calling for Kesler to be shipped out; he’s just saying it’s “not as unthinkable as it once seemed, given the season Kesler had, a no-trade clause in his contract that kicks in before next season, and the potential benefits to the Canucks of a multi-player windfall and the renewal of their image.”

That last part about the Canucks’ image might be the most interesting after Vancouver’s first-round loss to the Kings in which Kesler’s alleged diving created a cottage industry in GIF creation (see below, our favorite is the ducklings one.)

But is it really possible Kesler could be traded? Probably not.

As The Province’s Ben Kuzma writes, quality centers are hard to find – just ask the Leafs – and not too many have a Selke Trophy on their resumes.

Not to mention, Vancouver traded Cody Hodgson at the deadline, Samme Pahlsson is a pending UFA and Manny Malhotra hasn’t been the same since a serious eye injury.

If anything, the Canucks need to add more centers, not trade them away.

Related: Gillis: Canucks couldn’t get their “emotions together” after beating Boston in January

(Via Vancouver Sun)

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
1 Comment

Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
1 Comment

Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen